March 9, 2016 – Highlights Report
Toronto Transit Consultation Meetings
March 9, 2016
This concise Highlights Report has been prepared to provide the City of Toronto, TTC and Metrolinx with a snapshot of the feedback captured at the public meeting held on March 9, 2016. A more detailed report of the feedback during this phase of consultations will be prepared in the coming days.
On Wednesday, March 9, 2016, the City of Toronto, City Planning Division (Transportation Planning), the TTC and Metrolinx, hosted a public meeting on key transit projects currently being planned. The meeting was held at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, 350 Kipling Avenue, Toronto.
The public meeting focused on the various transit projects being studied as part of a network approach to transit planning undertaken by the City, TTC and Metrolinx, including:
Six and Fifteen Year Transit Planning: Show the potential development of Toronto’s rapid transit system over the next 6 and 15 years
Scarborough Transit Extension: Present a proposed approach to optimizing the transit network in Scarborough, including the development of an express subway to Scarborough Centre, SmartTrack and the extension of the Crosstown LRT eastward to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.
Relief Line: Present the results of the corridor evaluation and the preferred corridor.
Waterfront Transit Reset: Introduce a new initiative to improve transit options along the waterfront.
SmartTrack / GO Regional Express Rail (RER): Present current work to develop GO RER and to integrate it with SmartTrack on the Stouffville and Kitchener corridors.
SmartTrack Western Corridor Feasibility Study: Present the results of a study considering feasibility of SmartTrack heavy rail western corridor options connecting Mount Dennis and the Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre. A heavy rail option will not be recommended due to significant community impact, higher cost and lower projected ridership compared to the LRT.
GO Electrification: Present recent work on plans to electrify Metrolinx-owned rail corridors.
The meeting featured a series of panels and an overview presentation. Participants were given time before and after the presentation to look at the display panels, and speak with project staff from the City, TTC and Metrolinx.
Following an introductory presentation on Coordinated Network Transit Planning given by Hilary Holden (Director, Transit and Sustainable Transportation, City of Toronto) at 7:00 PM, participants had the opportunity to ask questions of clarification as well as provide feedback.
Approximately 200 individuals attended the public meeting, including MPP Peter Milczyn, (Etobicoke-Lakeshore).
Highlights of Participant Feedback
Questions of Clarification
The discussion that took place during the question and answer period following the overview presentation is summarized below. Questions are noted with a “Q”, comments with “C” and answers with “A”. Answers were provided by Hilary Holden and Paul Millet (Transportation and Operations Specialist, TTC)), unless otherwise noted.
Q. SmartTrack-RER integration Option C has three stations north of the Bloor-Danforth line running parallel to the Scarborough subway corridor. Why not run a spur from SmartTrack at Ellesmere to Scarborough Centre?
A. The “SmartSpur” concept – building a new eastern corridor off SmartTrack taking it through to Scarborough Centre instead of extending the subway – has been considered. If you were to take some trains to Scarborough Centre and keep some trains going north, you would reduce the frequency of service to Scarborough Centre from 12 trains per hour to between 2 and 10 trains per hour. We are proposing a new subway with through service of up to 30 trains per hour.
Q. There is a lot of development happening now in the Canary District, the Distillery District, and eventually in the Port Lands. There is no station planned for the Canary District as part of SmartTrack-RER integration Options C and D. On the west side, I am concerned that there is also no station planned for Spadina or links to the Spadina streetcar.
A. There are some technical limitations on where new stations can be built. Unilever is a focus for future development and has a proposed station. It is not possible to construct the Bathurst-Spadina Station previously proposed on the Kitchener Line but it could be built on the Barrie line. This means it has come off of the SmartTrack map but could still be included on the RER map.
Q. Are you being reactive or proactive in your planning?
A. We have a lot of catching up to do in terms of investment in transit in the City; we are decades behind. Several of the key projects we are talking about now will help us to catch up and meet current demand for transit, and also plan for future growth.
Q. The population along the waterfront has grown over the last 5 years to over 40,000 people and it is expanding. Can you shed some light on what is happening with the Mr. Christie’s site? The congestion in this area is horrendous.
A. [Richard Beck, Manager, West District Transportation Planning, City of Toronto] The City is in the process of retaining a consultant to undertake a Transportation Master Plan for the area around the former Mr. Christie’s site. It will consider road network in the Park Lawn and Lake Shore area, as well as the potential for a future GO station. Metrolinx is also considering what the opportunities are for a Park Lawn GO station and the City will be working closely with Metrolinx on that study. We expect to be consulting with stakeholders and the community in June. This work will also inform the Waterfront Transit ‘Reset’ study.
Q. Can you provide more information on the study of the GO train station at Park Lawn/Lake Shore and the Waterfront Transit Reset? What are the timelines?
A. The Waterfront Transit Reset will review work that has been done already and where there are gaps and quick wins. The resulting short and long term solutions will be reported to the City’s Executive Committee in June and City Council in July – a very condensed timeline.
[Josh Engel-Yan, Manager, RER Planning and Project Prioritization, Metrolinx] As part of the implementation of the RER, we are looking at the possibility for new stations across the GO Transit system. We have identified 50 potential station locations that we will be evaluating in more detail, including a station at Park Lawn Rd on the Lakeshore West line. We are starting the detailed analysis now and will report preliminary recommendations to the public in June. The more detailed work including design and environmental assessments for new stations would come after that and include more community consultation. The timeframe for delivery of a new GO station depends on the local context, complexity of the project, and how the work could be phased with other construction work on the rail corridor. Assuming there is available funding, we would target delivering new stations as part of the 10-year Regional Express Rail program.
Q. What is the economic net present value for each of the proposed projects you are looking at? How much higher is that net benefit than next best alternative?
A. I am not able to answer that right now but that will be determined through the development of business cases for each project. The business case process is mandated by the Province for projects over $50M. We have been developing an initial business case, dovetailed with the Feeling Congested? evaluation criteria.
Q. Does a tunnel exist under King or Queen St. in the east-west direction under Yonge St. and will it be used for the Relief Line? Is there any possibility to get the media to show Torontonians what is there?
A. There is currently an old station underneath the current Queen Station. At this time we cannot comment on whether it will be used. A video is available online with Andy Byford, CEO of the TTC, where he shows the unused stations.
Q. Will the Relief Line be a subway? Can you explain what is meant by a relief corridor?
A. We have concluded that a subway is the most suitable technology for connecting Pape to Queen and the route would be underground. The route needs to have the right stations to incent people to use the line and provide relief from crowding at Bloor-Yonge Station and on Line 1 south of Bloor.
Q. Currently there are 64 stations in Toronto on the GO line. A little while ago, Metrolinx identified 100 new possible stations. Then they reduced the list from 100 to 50 stations. Now they are working on electrification. My concern is there is no explanation of why a particular station location was chosen and there is no information on why 100 stations became 50. It is difficult for citizens to make constructive comments and provide feedback when there is no in depth information provided.
A. [Josh Engel-Yan, Manager, RER Planning and Project Prioritization, Metrolinx] About 120 potential station locations were initially identified based on criteria like station spacing, major intersections, and where municipalities had contemplated potential new stations. The screening that took place to reduce this list to 50 was primarily about feasibility and station spacing – GO trains are 300 metres long and in order to provide a good travel time across the system you need to ensure the stations are not too close together. I understand your concern and we will take a look at publishing more information.
Q. I live in the southeast corner of Mississauga. Most of the people that live east of Dixie Rd. are not going to the Port Credit GO station; they are going to the Long Branch GO station. Our problem is that most of the parking at Long Branch GO station is allocated as reserved parking. If you don’t have a reserved spot, the chances of getting on the GO train are nil. People are choosing to drive because the TTC takes an hour to get downtown. What is being done to relieve that situation?
A. We are completing a Transportation Master Plan for the area around Park Lawn Road, as well as undertaking the Waterfront Transit Reset. It will take years to develop waterfront rapid transit but we do have a good spine on the existing corridor.
C. When planning is undertaken you need to look far into the future in terms of which transit lines will end up having to become subways. Inevitably, the taxpayers will have to pay to redo some of these corridors. Another issue with putting LRT lines everywhere is that you are creating more and more transfer points. I ask that you do whatever it takes to minimize unnecessary transfers which add time to everyone’s transit trips.
Q. What is the rationale for the location of the SmartTrack station in Liberty Village?
A. Liberty Village is important because of the existing demand – There is a sizeable population and employment cluster in Liberty Village. South of King St., the rail corridor starts to descend to form a grade separation at Strachan Avenue. The station location that is being considered is on the north side of King Street.
A more detailed report of all consultation activities will be made available after this phase of consultation.